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Western Illinois strengthens youth development, career readiness with new 4-H Educator

kristin huls

URBANA, Ill. – Illinois 4-H strives to unlock the potential in every young person, helping them to dream, plan, design, build, and achieve. Around the state, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development staff are guiding the next generation of leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

In September, Kristin Huls returned to Illinois Extension as a 4-H youth development educator serving Adams, Brown, Hancock, Pike, and Schuyler counties. She will become a resource for youth in Western Illinois and develop research-based educational programs focused on youth development, leadership, college, and career readiness.

“Kristin is a very welcome addition to our youth development team,” says Extension County Director Shelby Crow. “Her background and wide-ranging experience with Extension and 4-H will allow us to develop programs prioritizing the skills today’s youth need to be successful now and in the future.”

Huls first joined Extension in 1998 and served in many different roles and topic areas, including 4-H, agriculture, horticulture, natural resources, community and economic development, and as county director until 2014.

She was a 4-H member and later participated in the program as a volunteer. Her children are also 4-H members. “I would not be where I am today without 4-H and it is important to me to help youth find their pathway in life through the many opportunities 4-H has to offer,” Huls says.

She looks forward to creating programs that help youth develop crucial life skills.

“I hope to provide opportunities for the youth in our area to develop these leadership and career readiness skills through hands-on programs that will help them be successful in life and give back to their communities,” Huls says.

Huls graduated from Western Illinois University with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business and a master’s degree in Education. She lives and farms with her husband, Sid, and their two daughters, McKenna and Maci, in rural Hancock County.

Huls is based in the Hancock County Extension office in Carthage and can be reached at or (217) 357-2150.

Extension educators and specialists connect every county in Illinois with university research through in-person and distance-learning programming and other educational outreach. They work to provide businesses, families, and agricultural producers with the practical tools and resources needed to solve problems.

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

ILLINOIS 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen.